The other day I saw an article by someone who was storing large amounts of peanut butter, jam and honey. From the sound of the article they were buying all of it at their local grocery store. Now honey is a great item to have in your storage. It is high in calories, good for you and if correctly stored will last almost forever. In its unrefined state, it contains its natural vitamins, minerals, beneficial enzymes, and potent phytonutrients (nutrients naturally found in plants).
There are only a couple of things you need to know to store it for many years. The first is don’t store honey in metal cans. It will turn black and develop a metallic taste over time. I was at someone’s home a few days ago when they had to throw a five-gallon can of honey out. It had been stored in a metal can for over twenty years. The taste was so bad you could not eat it. Store your’s in glass or plastic containers.
The second is that if the honey crystallizes it is still good. It can be eaten in the crystallized form or heated at a low temperature until it returns to a liquid. The reason you keep the temperature low is to protect the nutrients.
The third thing is to avoid imitation honey. When you go to buy it read the label. All of the ingredients should be listed on the container. If the honey is not pure, it should be on the label, including the percentage of real honey. Imitation honey is becoming common in the grocery stores. They put it in the same section as the real honey. According to the Food Safety News, more than three fourths of the honey sold in the United States has been altered in some fashioned. Often it is finely filter to get the pollen out and sometimes watered down.
The Food Safety News had test ran on honey from various sources and found the following.
- 76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
- 100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
- 77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
- 100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.
- Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.
Once the honey is filtered it is impossible to tell where it came from. Large amounts of honey are being imported from India and China. Chinese honey was found to often be contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.
To get the best honey, find a local beekeeper that sells unfiltered honey.
NOTE: Because of the risk of botulism, never give honey to an infant until after they are at least one year of age. The systems of infants are not yet developed and are susceptible to botulism from honey.